Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Farm safety
FARM FAMILIES 6 Farms: the homes in the middle of a factory MANY CHILDREN GROW UP ON FARMS, BUT THEY ARE RARELY CHILD-FRIENDLY THE FARM IS not a family-friendly workplace. Statistics show country children, particularly those in remote areas, are more at risk of life-threatening injury than those in towns and cities. Death rates for children under 15 in rural areas are slightly higher than in metropolitan areas, but in remote areas they are almost double those in metropolitan areas. On average, every 14 days a child under 15 dies as a result of an injury on an Australian farm, accounting for about 20 per cent of all farm deaths from non-intentional injury. About three-quarters are boys and two-thirds are children under five. The major causes of deaths to children on farms are: ¢ drowning (around 40 per cent of all child deaths – par- ticularly children under five); ¢ injuries associated with farm vehicles including motor- cycles (around 25 per cent); and ¢ injuries associated with mobile farm machinery, mainly tractors (around 15 per cent – with toddlers being most at risk). Most children fatally injured are playing in an area where farm work is being carried out. A third of fatalities involve children visiting the farm. While drowning rates involving backyard swimming pools are falling, they are rising in relation to farm dams and other inland waterways. Children under 15 account for between 20 and 25 per cent of all hospital admissions resulting from a farm injury – around 600 a year. Many more children with farm injuries are treated by general practitioners and hospital emergency departments. A large proportion of these cases relate to two- and four-wheeled motorcycles (ATVs). For example, motorcycles were involved in 42 per cent of cases of children admitted to hospital in NSW with a farm injury in the three years to June 2003. Boys accounted for 85 per cent of these injuries. Despite safety codes that rule out both carrying pas- sengers on ATVs and children riding them at all, accidents continue to occur with tragic regularity (see pages 10–11). Queensland farm safety trainer Cindy Hartwig says she has noticed that police are more frequently prosecuting breaches of the laws covering ATVs, even where people GROUND COVER FARM SAFETY On average, every 14 days a child under 15 dies as a result of an injury on an Australian farm Everything has its place: and there should be a good fence in between.
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